There are so many people out there who have signed-up for LinkedIn, put their résumé on the site, added their work history, joined a group or two and then sat there waiting for people to come to them with job offers.
I signed up for LinkedIn back in December 2007 and the above is basically what I did with it. Oh once in a while, I updated my work history or changed my Summary, but didn’t really understand what it was. When nothing happened, I thought “what a useless site”. At least that is the attitude that I had until this week.
After almost 5 years on LinkedIn, I am just beginning to figure out what it is all about.
The past couple of weeks I have really been ramping up my job search and have learned a lot about how things have changed over the past few years. One of the things that I keep hearing, is that you need to use LinkedIn to help with your job search.
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 120 million members and growing rapidly. LinkedIn connects you to your trusted contacts and helps you exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of professionals.
I just couldn’t get it through my head how another job search site was so important to my job search.
That’s just it – LinkedIn is not another job search site. It is much, much more, but you have to be willing to invest some time to learn how to use it. To be honest I never invested that time or effort before and misunderstood how powerful LinkedIn could be.
If you look at many profiles on LinkedIn, they are simply job summaries and work histories. Which is unfortunate, because not too many resumes are going to start a conversation with others who are on LinkedIn.
To me that is what LinkedIn is really about – starting conversations with other professionals who have similar interests and want to network with other professionals – in and out of their profession.
LinkedIn is not so much about listing you, so that others can find your skills by using a keyword search to see how great you are and offer you a job – though that might happen.
In my opinion LinkedIn is about introducing you to others, who might be able to help you find that job with either some timely words of wisdom, ideas, their experiences in something similar or eventually when or if they “know” you well enough – referring you for a job.
In many ways LinkedIn reminds me very much of an online Kiwanas Club or Rotary – where you can meet with other professionals in a less formal atmosphere and get to know one another better, while discussing common interests, that tend to pay dividends down the road, in often unforeseen ways.
The resource that led me to my “aha” moment about LinkedIn, was while I was watching a video from RockLinkedIn with Mike O’Neil and Lori Ruff. I had read snippets from other blogs or conversations in the Groups and knew that I wasn’t comfortable with my profile before this video, but I just couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong.
Once I started watching it, I did something very unusual for me, I re-watched several portions of the video multiple times – to make sure that I was understanding what they were saying about LinkedIn. It was a long video an hour and twenty minutes and it took me almost three hours to finish, but it was well worth it. Finally during the video, I just put my LinkedIn edit profile on Snap screen beside the video and started making changes to my profile.
What I learned was invaluable for me to improve my profile and see LinkedIn differently.
I changed LinkedIn profile, from being a carbon copy of my résumé – to more of where I have been, what I am doing, where I would like to go and a few qualifications. Hopefully these changes will result in starting conversations with others and build a larger base of connections in LinkedIn. Admittedly the profile isn’t perfect yet, but it is much closer to where I think it should be than it was on Friday and is a good beginning.
I want to transition to the trainer / administrator profession and believe that I have a lot to offer the right company with my skill set and now realize the importance of having a different profile and more contacts on LinkedIn, to help me move in that direction.
If you have any suggestions for me to improve my profile or “brand” on LinkedIn or elsewhere, I am very open to constructive criticism or if you have some ideas to help me prepare/improve my skills or discuss things I need to know while moving in towards becoming a trainer in today’s world – I would appreciate your insight. If you would like to connect with me, to help me with this journey through my next crossroad, I would be honored to share the journey with you as a connection on LinkedIn.
Strange after the number of years that I have been on LinkedIn, I am finally starting to see it as a social media site, not just a job search site.
If you are interested in my qualifications and experience, please read my About Me page, go to my LinkedIn account, read my other blog “A Veteran Runnah”or better yet ask me by contacting me directly – by clicking here.